Jon Jones has risen through the ranks of UFC and amassed a resume which puts him into elite status. Aside from being disqualified in a fight nearly two years ago for illegal strikes, Jon Jones is undefeated in his other thirteen fights en route to having won the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. When Jones beat Shogun Rua for the belt back in mid-March, he made himself the target of not only the top contenders in the division, but he’ll have to overcome history as well if he hopes to retain the championship and his pristine record.
The UFC Middleweight Championship and the UFC Welterweight Championship are both amidst historic reigns. Georges St Pierre has been the Welterweight title holder since the final days of 2007, having defended the belt 6 times, more defenses than any previous holder of the belt. Middleweight champ Anderson Silva has surpassed even that total, reaching 9 defenses in the 1800+ days he’s held the belt.
Since Chuck Liddell lost the UFC Light Heavyweight belt in May 2007, the division hasn’t had a dominant champion like the other belts. In fact, no champion since Liddell has amassed more than a single successful defense.
Shogun Rua, from whom Jones won the belt, held the belt for over 300 days, but he lost it in his first defense. Though he seemed unbeatable to some just prior to the start of his reign, Lyoto Machida only defended the title once during the 350 days he was champion, and that was a controversial victory against Rua, who defeated Machida for the belt in their rematch.
Neither Rashad Evans, nor Forrest Griffin before him, successfully defended the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in reigns which, combined, weren’t as long as Machida’s time with the gold.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, the man who ended the historic reign of Chuck Liddell, held the belt over 400 days, but despite having it more than a year, his only successful defense was against Dan Henderson.
Tonight Jon Jones has the chance to gain his first UFC Light Heavyweight title defense, and if he’s able to defeat Rampage at UFC 135 he could break the trend of belt holders who flame out quickly. As many thought the July 2008 Forrest Griffin victory over Rampage Jackson was something of a fluke, the curse of the One-And-Dones might have begun with a Rampage Jackson loss in the first place.